Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fire Truck Grandpa

One of my grandfathers drove a milk truck and picked up milk cans from dairies.  The other was Fire Chief.  As a kid I called one of them "Milk Truck Grandpa" and the other one "Fire Truck Grandpa."  Today there was a wonderful Manteca Bulletin article about my "Fire Truck Grandpa" and his service to the city of Ripon as Fire Chief for 37 years. 

 More than once recently he was Grand Marshal of the Almond Blossom Parade and rode in the fire truck named "Old Gertie."  In honor of Grandpa, this truck will be parked at the church Saturday where his funeral is taking place. 

Here he is in uniform with my two oldest boys in about 1996:

He trained paramedics and others in first aid and CPR.  I don't know who the kids are in this picture, but I remember him teaching me CPR on the "Annie" doll when I was really young.  This picture is in the back room of the old firehouse.

The picture below is taken from a 75th anniversary book of the Ripon Fire Department.  On the left is the house Grandma and Grandpa, my mom and my aunts and uncles lived in.  Grandma was simply expected to be dispatcher for fire and police since she had the privilege of living in this lovely home.  She worked LITERALLY 24/7 with no pay.  Grandma and Grandpa couldn't attend church at the same time because one of them had to be home at all times to take emergency calls.  They had no substitutes.

I remember as a kid knowing to be totally silent when the phone rang at Grandma and Grandpa's house!  In these days they would call the volunteer firemen by sounding an alarm.  It was loud enough to be heard all over town at that time.  One time I remember being caught outside when the alarm was sounded.  It was so loud that it was physically painful - not just in my ears, but all the way down my throat.  I still remember how it felt to hear that sound!  But there were benefits too.  How many kids get to grow up visiting a fire house every week?  Grandpa would take us on a tour of the fire house each week, and at the end we stopped off at the little kitchen in back, and Grandpa gave each of us kids one sugar cube :-)

Above is a picture of the family - mid-1970s - out in front of the fire house house.  I'm the tall kid in the red shirt.

Even in his later years Grandpa would visit the firehouse - sometimes shooting pool with the firemen.  He was always very well-respected by his men and the ones that came after.

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